I feel rather confident declaring these the best vegan cut-out cookies and decorating icing in the universe, not having ever left this world, because my picky daughter gobbled up about five of these. And she’s REALLY picky. And they taste good, especially with the icing. AND, they keep their shape beautifully. Gorgeously. Amazingly. I made these before, and you can read about the journey to come up with the recipe HERE. This time around, I donated a cookie decorating activity to my daughter’s school auction. The pre-K class won. The snag, they have a child with a nut allergy and a child allergic to eggs and dairy. And icing is made with egg whites. As the children were all sharing the icing bags and so as to not single out two children, having reserved, isolated, dairy-free icing bags was not an option.
have a kid with food allergies? And tips on cookie decorating with kids.
I was fortunate to be an early reader of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl, by my good friend, Sandra Beasley. It changed my view of food allergies. I better see the risk-infested waters parents must wade through to keep their children alive. I will never underestimate the danger from even the slightest contamination. Which means I:
• read ingredients closely
• washed my counters and hands and baking trays continuously
• used parchment paper to line trays
• didn’t even eat or touch anything that contained nuts the day I made these
• emailed extensive ingredient lists to both mothers with concerns and kept in touch with them
• had sanitizing wipes for each kid lest their lunch have lingered on their hands
• lined the tables with freezer paper, and each child had their own paper plate with their name on it for their cookies
• Not allergy-related, but useful: Skip the couplers and tips for kids, just fill decorating bags with icing, close tightly with rubber bands and snip about 1/2-inch from the tip.
And now, on to the vegan recipes. I made these for the kids’ cookie decorating activity for the child allergic to dairy and eggs, but these are a fabulous, (slightly healthier?) recipe for anyone who follows a vegan diet.
vegan cut-out sugar cookies
2 sticks (8 ounces) vegan “butter” (Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks)
1 cup organic powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water, mixed well (I used ENER-G egg replacer)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
With a handheld electric mixer or in a standing mixer with the flat beater, cream together the vegan buttery sticks and the sugar. Add the egg mixture and blend. Mix in the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix the flour and salt with a whisk and gradually blend into the wet mixture. Place the dough in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for two hours. (TIP: You may also refrigerate up to three days, just let the dough sit at room temperature enough to soften until pliable.) Briefly knead a chunk of the dough on a floured surface, roll about 1/4 inch thick, cut out shapes and place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. Cookies are done when the edges are golden. Let cool completely before decorating. Makes about 25 to 30 cookies, or 15 large cookies.
TIPS: I found the Ener-G egg replacer at the natural food store, which for fellow DC folks, means Yes! Organic Market. I also found the buttery sticks there, though you may be able to find those at Whole Foods.
UPDATE: Re: Bubbles! Julianne made a great point! YES, those are bubbles in the cookie surface! But I promise, these cookies are awesome and keep their shape. I had made about 100 of them, so by the end I was over-kneading and the last few got the bubbles. I packed up all the good ones for the kiddos so took pictures with the rejects. Gosh, that wasn’t wise, was it?
easy vegan decorating icing
2 cups powdered sugar, plus additional
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons soy milk, plus additional
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (such as Crisco, optional, but it helps with the texture)
Mix all ingredients with a whisk or in with the wire whip in the standing mixer. Add more powdered sugar or soy milk, alternatively, to get the desired consistency. Divide, tint and fill decorating bags for decorating. If left at room temperature, uncovered, overnight, these will harden enough to handle.
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